HomePod: Apple launches a Siri speaker 'to reinvent home music' at WWDC

A prototype Apple HomePod is seen during the annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, U.S. June 5, 2017
A prototype Apple HomePod is seen during the annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, U.S. June 5, 2017

Apple has officially launched HomePod, a Siri-powered talking music system for the home.

It looks unusual, like a cross between Google Home and the Mac Pro, all wrapped up in mesh.

Apple says it has "the power to rock the house", thanks to its use of seven different tweeters, and the huge bass woofer that sits right in the middle.

The company says HomePod separates out all the different parts of the music into its composite parts. It can then find out all those parts and pull it together into a "rich mix that can dominate the room".

Using the wake command “Hey Siri”, the much-rumoured device can play music as well as answer queries and control other smart home appliances.

It works with HomeKit, as Siri does, meaning you can say something like "turn my lights on", for instance, and it will do so. It will also be able to answer questions like, “Hey Siri, who’s the drummer in this?”

Chief executive Tim Cook, referencing the company’s iTunes service and iPod, said, “Just like portable music, we would like to reinvent home music.”

The HomePod will use its internal microphones to pick up voice commands and uses the same processor chip as the iPhone to pump out “spatially aware” sound, Apple said.

The speaker turns Siri into what Apple calls a "musicologist", to provide "deep knowledge of personal music preferences and tastes" and help users discover new music.

“HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a beautiful speaker that is less than 7 inches tall, can rock most any room with distortion free music and be a helpful assistant around your home,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

The HomePod costs $349, and will be available in white and space grey when it starts shipping in December.

It will go head-to-head with the aforementioned Google Home and the much-loved Amazon Echo, though Apple will hope its speaker will tempt customers with its eye-catching design and apparently superior audio quality.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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